Brandon Wrongful Death Lawyers
Losing a loved one can be devastating, and your grief and sense of loss can be compounded by financial worries. If the death was caused by someone else’s negligent or wrongful conduct, dealing with the loss and other problems can be even more difficult.
A wrongful death claim cannot make up for your loss; however, it can help you come to terms with the death and give you some needed financial assistance. If you recently lost a family member whose death was caused by someone else’s wrongful action or negligence, the experienced Brandon wrongful death lawyers at Dennis Hernandez & Associates can help you file a wrongful death claim.
We have helped hundreds of surviving family members throughout Florida and want to help you hold the parties responsible for your loved one’s death accountable for their actions and make sure you obtain the financial compensation you deserve.
What Constitutes a Wrongful Death in Florida?
Section 768.19 of the Florida Wrongful Death Act defines a wrongful death as the death of a person that is caused by the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty of any person. In other words, almost any type of accident injury caused by someone else’s wrongful or negligent actions could qualify a wrongful death if it resulted in the victim’s death.
A doctor’s error that results in a death, a drowning at an unsafe pool, a fatal car accident caused by a distracted driver, or even an intentional assault that caused the victim’s death may all provide the basis for a wrongful death lawsuit.
Different types of wrongful deaths generally occur due to:
- Car accidents – Deaths due to car accident injuries are considered wrongful deaths when the accident was caused by an impaired, distracted, speeding or in other ways, negligent driver.
- Medical errors – When doctors, nurses or other healthcare professionals are negligent or make errors that result in a fatality, the death could be considered a wrongful death.
- Workplace accidents – Deaths can happen at any workplace, but fatal accidents are especially prevalent among construction, transportation, and law enforcement employees.
- Falls – When unsafe conditions on someone’s property cause a visitor to that property to sustain fatal injuries, their death may be considered wrongful death.
- Drownings – When a person drowns in a pool because adequate pool safety measures are not in place, the death could be viewed as wrongful death.
How Are Wrongful Death Claims Handled in Florida?
The deceased person’s estate and his or her survivors may be able to recover damages in a wrongful death lawsuit, but the decedent’s personal representative (usually the Executor of the estate) has to be the one to initiate the lawsuit. According to the Florida Wrongful Death Act section 768.21, survivors include the decedent’s spouse, children, parents, and, when partly or wholly dependent on the decedent for support or services, any blood relatives and adoptive brothers and sisters.
As in most personal injury lawsuits, a statute of limitations applies to the right to initiate a wrongful death lawsuit. In Florida, this is two years, meaning you must file a wrongful death lawsuit within two years of the death, or you give up the right to hold the negligent party accountable.
A Florida wrongful death claim must also meet the standards of proof for a valid negligence claim. The exact proof varies with the type of negligent or wrongful act, but in all instances, a claimant must be able to show that:
- The negligent person(s) or entity had a legal duty to the deceased. For example, healthcare professionals have a legal duty to provide healthcare services of the same quality as a reasonably prudent healthcare provider practicing in the same area of medicine would provide; and property owners have a legal duty to keep their property in a reasonably safe condition for invited visitors and others or, if not entirely possible, warn them of a danger.
- They failed to meet their legal duty. If a property owner doesn’t repair a structure he knows is dangerous and does not warn visitors to his property of the danger, he could be considered to have failed to meet his legal duty. If a doctor does not provide the same quality of healthcare services another reasonably careful practitioner of the same medical specialty would provide, then he could be found to have failed to meet his legal duty.
- Their failure to meet their legal duty caused fatal injuries. Fatal injuries that occurred because of the dangerous conditions on someone’s property or because a doctor didn’t follow standard procedures could, for example, be seen as resulting from the property owner’s and the doctor’s negligence.
What Damages Are Recoverable with a Florida Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In Florida, the estate of the decedent and his or her survivors may both have a valid claim for damages (compensation). Damages awarded to the estate are those that the deceased person would be entitled to for injuries that occurred prior to his/her death and/or are related directly to the death. These damages are paid to the estate, so they are ultimately distributed to the estate’s beneficiaries and/or legal heirs. Damages that may be awarded to the estate include:
- Lost wages and other earnings, including the value of lost earnings that the deceased person could reasonably have been expected to make if he or she had lived.
- Lost prospective net accumulations of the estate, or the value of earnings the estate could reasonably have been expected to accumulate had the decedent lived.
- Medical and funeral expenses that were paid by the estate.
Survivors of the deceased victim also have a legal right to sue for additional damages to compensate them for the financial and emotional impact of the death. These damages may include:
- The value of support and services the deceased person provided to the surviving family member(s).
- The loss of companionship, guidance, and protection provided by the deceased person.
- Mental and emotional pain and suffering due to the loss.
- Medical or funeral expenses any surviving family member paid for the deceased person.
How Can Experienced Florida Wrongful Death Attorneys Help with Your Wrongful Death Claim?
If a family member’s death was caused by the wrongful or negligent conduct of another party (or parties), contacting the Brandon wrongful death attorneys at Dennis Hernandez & Associates, PA as soon as possible to discuss your legal options is in your best interest. We want to help you get answers to all of your questions and hold the negligent party or parties accountable for their actions.
When we handle a wrongful death case, we ensure that we support and guide you with compassion and knowledge through the entire legal process. We investigate your claim and gather all the evidence necessary to prove negligence. We negotiate vigorously with insurance company representatives and defense attorneys on your behalf. We build a powerful case to prove wrongful death and your right to compensation for the financial and emotional impact of your loved one’s death.
Many lawyers are eager to settle out of court and avoid going to trial, but we do not settle easily or back down from the fight for your rights. We are dedicated to supporting you throughout the entire legal process and will leverage our extensive trial experience to fight for the compensation you deserve.
To get started on your wrongful death case in Brandon, call us at 813.250.0000 or fill in the FREE CASE EVALUATION form on our website.